Health-Care Reform Lies Travel Faster Then the Facts

These numbers on shifting support for health-care reform, especially among independents is a little strange, GALLUP GAUGES RESPONSES TO ANGRY MOBS. Steve notes the fairly obvious,

There are a few angles to this. You’ll note, for example, that when the breakdown is 34%-21%, it means there’s a large plurality with no opinion or whose attitudes haven’t changed one way or the other. For that matter, there’s no way to know from the poll if those who say they’re more sympathetic to right-wing protestors have actually agreed with the protestors from the outset.

TPM looked at the internals of that Gallup poll and found,

Late Update: Gallup itself has up the internals of the poll. And the details paint a more mixed picture than the USAToday lede. That said, they do not seem to show any of the backlash against the craziness that many reformers are hoping for. And at a minimum they seem to be hardening opposition among Republicans and right-leaning independents.

Democrats should not just take these numbers at face value and proceed accordingly. Obama should act like health-care reform is a rerun of the election and winning reform is the goal. The Republican noise machine from Freedomworks to the American Enterprise Institute to right-wing radio to the New York Post have been running these disinformation campaigns for years. Any Democrat that thought they would stop just because elections have consequences has not learned rule one, the battle for progress never ends. Democrats as is usually the case think that since they have facts and a history of good policy on their side – Social Security, unemployment insurance, winning two world wars, a better record on the economy, people would at least be polite enough to listen and digest the good news accordingly. That surely realized there would be resistance, but did not see the Right pouring out its resentment and impotence at their increasing irrelevance at townhalls. Those public venues have been like the spout on a boiling kettle. Yes, while they’re difficult to find in the videos there are reasonable Republicans that just want to participate in a centuries old tradition. Its not just Democratic constituents that have been shut out of local forums until this last few days, but more thoughtful Republicans and independents too. The right-wing message has been the only one anyone can hear. Then goodness forbid anyone should object to the yelling and shouting so we could have some civil debates – according to the very same tea baggers/birthers/deathers, their freedom of speech is being trampled – all the while the rest of us are just trying to get a word in. The Right’s path iis easy as usual. I’m not sure about the psychology of it, but its a well known historical trend as Mark twain observed “A lie can travel around the world while the truth is just putting on its shoes.” Timothy Noah’s latest column is a little depressing, but offers some encouraging news for all Americans, The Medicare-Isn’t-Government Meme, Part 2

Outside the school, the Journal’s Jonathan Weisman interviewed Diane Campbell of Kingston, N.H. Campbell’s mother has an autoimmune disease that “is treated with expensive transfusions of gamma globulin, paid for by Medicare.” Campbell’s sister, the story notes, “was born with no arms and one leg, and is also covered by Medicare, the government-run, health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled.”

In a more logical world, one might expect Campbell’s worldview to incorporate the reality that her family relies on a government program to provide essential health care.

Protester that does not know Medicare is a government insurance program
Protester that does not know Medicare is a government insurance program

Yet M’s Campbell, utterly dependent on government health-care, is out with her signs calling President Obama both a socialists and a fascist, not because he actually wants to slightly expand Medicare( which Campbell thinks is not a government run program) and make sure Medicare continues to be properly funded, but because she thinks President Obama wants to cut her Medicare benefits – which, to repeat, she thinks is a private entity ( Paul Krugman made the same observation about a gentleman at another townhall). Not coincidentally Limbaugh has accused Obama of being both a Nazi and a socialist. The inane Jonah Goldberg aside its impossible to be a socialist and fascist simultaneously. The we have Rich Lowry, taking a break from shilling to be a Bush White House propagandist complaining – a far Right Republican complaining – that President Obama wants to cut entitlement spending to programs like Medicare – the they’re trying to kill granny angle. Remember the Twain rule. That rule still applies when the lies are inconsistent, are the exact opposite of what wingers usually complain about and are factually vacant. People like Campbell are eating this stuff up. Pushing back the lies is pushing a big rock up a steep hill. Of course Republican have the message advantage – they have the same disinfo infrastructure they’ve been building for fifty years and they’re doing the lying. We know that Democrats and Obama are more then capable enough to wrestle back a good percentage of those independents.

Some Democrats in the Senate are not being helpful, In the Senate, Small States Wield Outsize Power. Is This What the Founders Had in Mind?

Why, for example, have even Democratic senators been resistant on health-care reform? It might be because so many of the key players represent so few of the voters who carried Obama to victory — and so few of the nation’s uninsured. The Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” that is drafting health-care legislation that may shape the final deal — without a public insurance option — represents six states that are among the least populous in the country: Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, New Mexico and Iowa.

Between them, those six states hold 8.4 million people — less than New Jersey — and represent 3 percent of the U.S. population. North Dakota and Wyoming each have fewer than 80,000 uninsured people, in a country where about 47 million lack insurance. In the House, those six states have 13 seats out of 435, 3 percent of the whole. In the Senate, those six members are crafting what may well be the blueprint for reform.

[   ]…Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota (pop. 641,481, third smallest), chairman of the Budget Committee and one of the Gang of Six, does not see any problem. Asked whether it is appropriate that his vote counts as much as those of senators from states 20 times as large, he was flummoxed. “One would hope that people would support the Constitution of the United States,” said Conrad, who was reelected with 150,000 votes in 2006, when Virginia’s Jim Webb needed 1.2 million votes to win.

Another uphill battle in the Senate where conservative Democratic Senators represent a relatively small number of people. They’re the Senators that will probably come around, but need to feel at least as much heat from reform supporters as they do from the vocal minority tea smokers.

Just in case anyone missed it, Five myths about healthcare reform, and the facts

Right-wing pundits tear into 11-year-old girl for asking Obama a question. This might be an even match. Michelle Malkin and the Washington Times versus an 11 year old. My money is on the 11 year old. Media Matters has more, Surprise! Michelle Malkin’s attacking little kids again